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Games Entertainment

UK Opens National Video Game Archive 121

BBC News reports that the UK is acknowledging video games as a "key component of modern culture" by opening the National Videogame Archive inside the National Media Museum. "'The National Videogame Archive is an important resource for preserving elements of our national cultural heritage,' said Dr Newman. 'It's not just about cartridges and consoles, it's also about video game culture, the ways in which people actually play them. Unlike film and music, it's very difficult to walk into a retail store and walk out with a bunch of games from the 1970's,' said Dr Newman. He feels that games should be archived in the same way that music, books and film are preserved, as we often use them as markers in our culture and history." There's a similar archive at the University of Texas at Austin. What games would you put on display?
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UK Opens National Video Game Archive

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:42AM (#25566127)

    SabreWulf was plain 2d as far as I remember. You're thinking of Ultimate's Knightlore [] which was the first 3d isometric game.

  • by PoiuyTerry ( 736125 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @05:33AM (#25566575)
    Hmmm, Fighter Bomber for the Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. Why yes, I did write it, a long time ago.
  • by malf-uk ( 456583 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @05:40AM (#25566625)
    There were 3D isometric games before Knight Lore, such as Sandy White's Ant Attack [], but Knight Lore's Filmation engine featured forced perspective.
  • by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @07:26AM (#25567153)

    The best version of Pitfall II was on the Atari 5200. The programmer directly ported the original VCS/2600 version to the 5200, and discovered he had some spare time to kill, so he created a whole other game (think Pitfall III) that happens immediately after you beat the first game.

    The second game can only be described as "extremely difficult". I couldn't get past the first screen due to the fact all the crabs run about four times faster! One of these days I'll get-around to beating it.

    Thanks to emulation, everyone can now play these games. It's no longer limited to just those who have ~$100 to spend buying the necessary hardware.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2008 @10:32AM (#25569121)

    So how do we archive all of the fantastic hardware that the likes of Sega and Atari produced? What about pinball games and crane sandboxes? What about the machines that would cast a souvenir for you out of plastic on the spot? There is a lot of gaming history that is sadly endangered.

    Coin-op hardware-wise, there's the annual California Extreme [] event in San Jose. There's also a good vintage console selection (as well as computer selection) at Vintage Computer Fest [], which has both an East Coast and a West Coast show every year.

    Pinball-wise, we have the Pinball Hall of Fame [] in Las Vegas, and the Lucky JuJu [] in the SF Bay Area. (And these are museums, not shows.)

    Pinball show-wise, a bunch of Bay Area pinheads also put together the Pacific Pinball Expo [], which features a lot of fully-restored electromechanical machines from the 50s-70s, and even a small selection of flipperless / woodrail / bumper games from the late 20s-30s. (If you ever go to the expo, play these games. They're surprisingly fun!)

    There's a preponderance of "shows" over "museums" here, but that's because games are interactive (and old electronic/mechanical hardware, even if engineered to take the abuse of an arcade environment, can be fragile), and the risk to the artifacts over the long term is enough to discourage most museum curators from having lots of hands-on exhibits. Building a sufficiently large collection to warrant a museum, leasing a permanent space, and then opening that collection up to the general public on an ongoing basis is a prohibitive amount of time and money for all but a handful of people.

    Crowdsourcing the collection process (by having a few hundred people haul in a couple of their own personal games for a weekend), by contrast, works very well. The downside is that you can only attend the event one weekend a year, but the upside is that it's a very well-populated event. And because you've also crowdsourced the repair/maintenance (each exhibitor is responsible for the upkeep of only one or two games on the show floor, and no individual collector's entire collection is at risk), you can let the general public show up and play the games.

    So that's how it's done in the coin-op amusement community (and the crane sandboxes and plastic mold-making machines would probably be welcome at either CAX or Pacific Pinball Expo). Anyone got any links for other museums or shows featuring other forms of cultural ephemera?

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